Religious Studies 275

Japanese Religions



Three Jewels/Treasures: Buddha / Dharma / Sangha

Siddhartha Gautama (5th c. BCE):     The Buddha / Butsu (Enlightened One)

                                                         Sakyamuni / Shaka (Sage of the Sakya clan)

                                                         Tathagatha / Nyorai (Thus-come-one)

Three Branches:

            Theravada (Hinayana): Way of the Elders (Smaller Vehicle)

      • S/SE Asia
      • Pali Canon: Tripitika (below)

            Mahayana: Greater Vehicle

      •  East Asia
      • Chinese Canon: Pali Canon + new sutras, commentaries, biographies

            Vajrayana: Diamond Vehicle

      •  Tibet, North/Central Asia, Japan (1 school)
      •  Tibetan Canon (except for Shingon in Japan): Chinese Canon + Tantras (ritual texts)

Theravada Buddhist Canon (Tripitaka, "Three Baskets"):

            Sutra: discourses of the Buddha

            Vinaya: monastic codes

            Abhidharma: philosophical analysis


Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path:

    1. "Suffering"/ unsatisfactoriness (dukkha): inevitable part of existence
    2. Cause of suffering: craving, desire, thirst (tanha)
    3. Elimination of suffering: elimination of craving
    4. Means of eliminating craving: The Noble Eightfold Path:
        1. Right views
        2. Right intention                        Wisdom (prajña)
        3. Right speech
        4. Right action                            Morality (sila)
        5. Right livelihood
        6. Right effort
        7. Right mindfulness                   Concentration, meditation (samadhi)
        8. Right concentration

Three Characteristics of Existence:

            suffering (dukkha)

            impermanence (anitya / mujo)

            no-self (anatman)


Five Skandhas (components, aggregates):

         1. Form

         2. Sensation

         3. Perceptions/conceptions

         4. Predispositions (karmic), volitions, will

         5. Consciousness


Three Ills (evils):


            anger / hatred


Five Precepts (vows):

        1. Not to kill

        2. Not to steal

        3. Not to misuse sex (adultery)

        4. Not to lie

        5. Not to take intoxicants

Other key concepts:

           karma: moral causality

           samsara: cycle of rebirth

           nirvana: extinction of karma and rebirth

           bodhi / satori: enlightenment

           ignorance (avidya)

           dependent origination (pratitya-samutpada)

           arhat: enlightened person (in Theravada)


Spread of Buddhism:

5th c. BCE:     originated in North India

3rd c. BCE:     to Sri Lanka (Pali Canon first put into writing there)

1st c. BCE:      to Central Asia via Afghanistan / Mahayana developing

1st c. CE:        first recorded mention in China

5th c.:              to Korea

6th c.:              to Japan (from Korea, but then most influence from China)

7th c.:              to Tibet (from India and China)

10th - 11th c.:  mostly wiped out in India by Islamic invasions

19th-20th c.:   to Europe and America